2007-07-23 to 2007-07-25
We are travelling through the Transkaai region of South Africa which is beautiful and vast. But to get to Coffee Bay you have to take another 90 minute detour off the main roads, through `real Africa` with their brightly coloured limestone houses of flaming pink and lime green! The Baz Bus is great for meeting new people but little did I know that the group that was arriving were going to merge so well with the small group there and two nights of madness were to ensue!
Within minutes of getting there, Jasmin and Anna (England) and I decided to go for a swim after the long bus journey. We were told that the beach nearest to us had a bad rip tide so we went in search of the next beach over. On our way, we came across some kids who were playing football and I set off to join them! Soon we were all running around a paddock, avoiding the cow pats all over and general running around like headless chickens (no change for me there then!)
They said they would show us the beach and a series of piggy back races started! Jasmin and I went in for a swim and the rip tide took us way out and a worrying thought of how it was dusk now and isn`t that shark feeding time annoyingly entered my mind! Still we made it back and got back for `Killers` back in the Coffee Shack!
Killers is very simple, its a game of pool where you take turns to knock any ball down, where missing costs you a life. With 25 of us playing, it was very competitive but not nearly as much as the other `sport` of the evening – Buffalos! In this `game` if you were spotted drinking your drink from your right hand, everyone in the bar would turn and scream at you `BUFFALOS` until you now downed the drink!
Believe me it was a heart sinking feeling to hear this scream, look around, see that people were pointing at you and then you look down at your offending hand and wonder why your hamster had let you down again (probably getting you back from the Bungee a few days ago!). I say this with some authority because I got caught 7 times on my first night! The gang were like hawks, ready to pounce on any unsuspecting victim.
It was funny to see everyone with their hands in their right pockets, or holding their cameras or in the case of Ollie actually writing YES and NO on the backs of his hands so he knew which one he could hold his drink in!
I won the Killers (needless to say or I wouldn`t have brought it up!) and my reward next morning was a 12 km trek to The Hole in the Wall, no not an ATM but a natural cave that ran through a massive rock formation in the sea. Joseph (“That was a shot and a half” being his most common quote from last night applying to both photos and pool shots) took us on the trek, walking barefoot of course over some pretty rocky terrain, pointing out whales in the sea, plants inland and his own village. He had a unique deep voice where he would loudly emphasise random words in a sentence like “and here you see WITH YOUR EYES the waves crashing” which made it almost melodic!
That evening we went for dinner and another round of Killers. I won again but my real achievement was staying Buffalo free on the second night. After the game, we had a shot of Sambuca each which you rolled in your mouth, put your finger in, brought it to a flame, brought your lit finger back to your mouth and WOOOSH! a bright purple flame was firing out of our mouths! Flaming Mo`s for your Simpson`s lovers out there!
With that finished, a young lad Fabian from France broke out a guitar and we sat around the fire outside and had a singsong. Well yours truly was trying to initiate a sing song, Fabian was trying to call down spirits from the heavens as he howled out his own songs which was a Smashing Pumpkin/Bjork/Coyote caught in a trap sound to it!
The music brought Manfred to the fire, a 74 year old local that insisted on buying the singers and anyone Irish a drink (doubles for me naturally as I qualified on both counts!). He was convinced that he was Irish because he knew the song “Molly Malone” and he warmly embraced me with his own charming pet name “You are a brother motherf*cker”. What?! But it takes all types I guess!
To completely throw us for a spin, he revealed to us next morning that his name was actually Derek and that he made up a new name everytime he came to Coffee Shack and met new backpackers?! He said Manfred was the man who drank at night but conveniently Derek picked up the hangover in the morning, freeing up Manfred (or whoever he was going to be that night!) to have another night of drinking!
The group was breaking up that day, as is typical in these types of situations, and the two days of magic end up in diaries, facebook and hopefully in the memories. We were sad to leave Coffee Bay and the huge group of 15-20 that had come together but Kat (from Northern Ireland) and the two Idges (Matt and Ollie, don`t even ask!) said we would head for a relaxing day in Port St Johns.
But that was until we got a little too close to a Blow Hole!